Reviews

July 16, 2014

Have Neurosis, Will Travel: On Nathan Deuel’s Friday Was the Bomb 1

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By being so honest and clear about his unshakeable fears, Deuel’s anxieties become our own. It’s a move that would make most novelists jealous. Friday succeeds where others — like Dave Eggers — have failed.

July 1, 2014

Is This Really Real Life? Christopher Beha’s Arts & Entertainments 2

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Eddie, the main character, no longer wants to be a protagonist. He simply wants to no longer feel like a failure, which is a pretty good definition of adulthood at this moment.

June 27, 2014

Betting on Quality: On One Story Collected 1

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If One Story Collected is a stethoscope to the heart of contemporary American fiction, the news is good: despite a run of economic shocks to the publishing industry, the muscle that pumps fresh blood into the system is still beating like a tom-tom.

June 20, 2014

Style and the Man: On Adam Begley’s Updike 9

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If you are going to make major claims for Updike as a writer, as Begley wishes to do, you must show how Updike’s style and his cosmology correspond, and you must give an account of the effects that style produces.

June 6, 2014

We Came From A Free People: On Roxane Gay’s An Untamed State 0

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These are evil men, but Gay makes certain that we never forget that they are men, made of the same hope and fury and flesh as us.

June 5, 2014

Celebration Capitalism: On the World Cup and Brazil’s Dance with the Devil 0

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Zirin asserts that large-scale events like the Olympics and the World Cup offer countries like Brazil the perfect opportunity to install neoliberal economic policies that their publics would otherwise never authorize.

June 4, 2014

Just a Taste of the Kingdom: Gonçalo M. Tavares’s A Man: Klaus Klump 1

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Tavares, with language uncorrupted by sentiment and attachment, is in search of the secret order of mankind.

June 3, 2014

Keep the Laurus Nobilis Flying: Edward St. Aubyn’s Lost for Words 5

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The Booker shortlist and the eventual winners have been decried for being too populist, too elitist, too imperialist, too predictable. Edward St. Aubyn’s new novel, Lost for Words, is a briskly readable satire on the annual circus.

June 2, 2014

The Past Will Never Be Past: On A Detroit Anthology 3

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But the thing I wanted to do with this anthology was get past the stance that we’re going to explain this city. I wanted to get the candid conversations Detroiters have with other Detroiters — diverse and true and candid conversations people have at a dinner table or in a bar.

May 13, 2014

Nathaniel P. Gets the Fanfic Treatment: On Adelle Waldman’s “New Year’s” 2

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Everyone has had a close relationship that works better as a friendship than as a romance, and at some half-drunken moment of intimacy, everyone has wondered why. “New Year’s” seems a story poised to answer this very human question, and then, for some reason, it simply doesn’t.